Cheapest Place To Buy Bird Food? Online vs Retail! (9 Case Studies)

I have recently been pondering a question every time that I buy food for my bird feeders.


Is it cheaper to buy bird food online or locally from a store?


Personally, I love supporting local businesses with my money. But it’s also incredibly convenient to buy birdseed online from Amazon.


I am in my early thirties, a “millennial” and a little biased toward thinking buying anything online is going to be cheaper than going to a local store. But I always feel a twinge of guilt when ordering things on the Internet because I prefer that my money stays in our community.


It was time to run a series of experiments to find the cheapest place to buy bird food and birdseed.


Here is what I did:


I visited six local stores, which included everything from pet stores to grocery stores to hardware stores, to compare the price in the store vs. the price I could find online.


I had a few guidelines that I followed while conducting this experiment:


1. To make a proper comparison, the brand of the bird food had to be the same. It’s unfair to compare sunflower seed from Company A at a local store vs. sunflower seed from Company B online. The quality of birdseed can differ significantly from company to company, depending on how and where it was harvested.


2. The bag size of the bird food had to be the same. So if I found a 25-pound bag of black oil sunflower from Company A at my local hardware store, then it had to be compared against the same 25-pound bag from Company A online.


3. To compare in-store prices against the prices available online, I tried to use Amazon whenever possible. This is because most people think of Amazon first when trying to find the lowest prices available online. I thought it best to compare local prices against the Internets biggest giant! Also, Amazon typically has free shipping, which I love.


One last thing before we dig into the 9 case studies below:


Prices constantly change! The prices you see below are what they were the day this article was published. I intend to keep this article updated periodically, but reader and buyer beware! I will include links where applicable to check the current online prices.


Are you ready???


Case Study # 1: Black Oil Sunflower Seed


I thought it would be best to start with black oil sunflower seed because it’s the most popular and common bird food offered in feeders.


I found this 10-pound bag of Audubon Park black oil sunflower seed at my local grocery store.

best prices to buy bird food


In case you can’t see the price tag below, purchasing at the grocery store would cost $9.99.


A quick search on Amazon shows that buying the same 10-pound bag cost $20.34.  View Current Price


Wow! I was a bit shocked to see that buying locally from my grocery store (of all places!) was half the cost of purchasing online.


We have a clear winner from the first case study!


Buying Local = 1 , Buying Online = 0



Case Study #2: Sunflower Hearts/Chips


For the second test, we are going to stay at the same grocery store and use the same brand.


But this time let’s take a look at sunflower hearts and chips.


cheapest place to buy bird food


Audubon Park Sunflower Chips (5 lbs)


Grocery Store: $11.99


Amazon: $23.40  Check Current Price


Incredible! That’s a savings of almost 50%. Buying local has jumped out to an early lead.


Buying Local = 2 , Buying Online = 0


Case Study #3: Safflower Seed


This case study will feature safflower purchased from a local pet store, Pet Supplies Plus.

best price bird food


Kaytee Safflower Seed (5lbs)


Pet Store: $8.98


Amazon: $13.50  Check Current Price


Once again, buying local saves a significant amount of money (33%).


Buying Local = 3, Buying Online = 0


Case Study #4: Nyjer Seed


I went to the closest Home Depot to check out their bird food selection. One of the products they carried was a 10-pound bag of Wagner’s nyjer seed. This caught my eye because I know for a fact that I have ordered the 5-pound bag on Amazon before.

cheapest price bird food


Wagner’s Nyjer Seed (10 lbs)


Home Depot: $18.98


Amazon: $21.98  Check Current Price


Buying local wins again and saves about 14%. At least these prices were similar, unlike the first 3 case studies.


Buying Local = 4, Buying Online = 0



Case Study #5: Nyjer Seed Finch Socks


While at Pet Supplies Plus, I noticed they carried these Kaytee Finch Socks. I have ordered this twin pack from Amazon before, so I was excited to compare prices.

where to buy birdseed?


Kaytee Nyjer Seed Finch Sock (Twin Pack)


Pet Store: $7.98


Amazon: $12.03  Check Current Price


This competition is quickly turning into a blowout. (~33% savings buying local)


Buying Local = 5, Buying Online = 0


Case Study #6: Peanuts


To be honest, the inspiration for this post came while shopping at Sam’s Club. I was there on my lunch break purchasing diapers when I came across the below 5-pound bag of peanuts from Hampton Farms.


What blew me away was that a 5-pound bag only cost $5.68. For the past few months, I have been buying this EXACT bag on Amazon to feed the Blue Jay’s in my backyard, and I knew that it has been costing me significantly more!

lowest price for seeds for birds


Hampton Farms Peanuts (5 lb)


Sam’s Club: $5.68


Amazon: $16.98     Check Current Price


What a huge price difference (67%)! Seriously, this enormous discrepancy is what initially got me curious about what was cheaper, buying local or online.


Buying Local = 6, Buying Online = 0


Case Study #7: Mealworms


My backyard birds love when I put mealworms out as a treat and will quickly eat them all!


And since mealworms seem to be the most expensive bird food by weight, I was very interested to find the cheapest place to buy them.


I have been purchasing freeze-dried mealworms on Amazon, assuming this must be the cheapest place to buy. To compare prices, I was able to find the same brand and size that I typically purchase on Amazon at the pet store.

cheapest bird food


Kaytee Mealworms (7-Ounce)


Pet Store: $6.98


Amazon: $9.20   Check Current Price


Buying from a store saves 25% on mealworms.


Buying Local = 7, Buying Online = 0


Case Study #8: General Bird Seed Mix


The last two case studies will feature two general bird seed mixes from different retailers.


This first one is the Kaytee Songbird blend (5 lbs). I found this at another local pet store (Pet’s Mart).

lowest price and cheapest bird seed


Kaytee Songbird Blend (5 lbs)


Pet Store: $9.99


Amazon: $17.60   Check Current Price


Another case study with the same result. Buying locally would save about 43% instead of buying this birdseed blend online.


Buying Local = 8, Buying Online = 0


Case Study #9: General Bird Seed Mix


To finish this experiment, I decided to head to Wild Birds Unlimited. They are a national franchise that specializes in bird feeding products, seeds, and foods.


Below is there popular “No-Mess Plus Blend” that features sunflower chips, shelled peanuts, and a few other foods that don’t have shells.

where should I buy bird food from?


Wild Birds Unlimited No-Mess Plus Blend (20 lbs)


Local WBU Store: $45.99 (it’s only $39.09 if you are part of their discount club) $48.99 (plus ~$15.00 for shipping!)


Once again, it’s cheaper to buy at the local store instead of ordering online. These results were similar for all the other bird foods that Wild Birds Unlimited offers (sunflower, nyjer, suet, etc.).


Buying Local = 9, Buying Online = 0

Takeaways and Observations:


To be honest, the results of this experiment blew me away!


Out of the 9 case studies that were performed, it was always cheapest to buy bird seed from a local retailer.

Buying from a local store saved an average of over 50%!


I am guilty of having a prejudice that buying online was cheaper than heading to a store. I know this is true of other products, but the trend does not seem to apply to bird seed and food.


Could it be that the weight of bird food prevents cheap shipping? And does that cost have to be passed to the consumer online?

where should I buy bird seed from?


This may be part of the reason for heavier bags of seed. But it just can’t be true for lower weight items such as mealworms or finch socks.


Like many other people, I have become addicted to ordering products on Amazon. The free 2-day shipping offered by their Prime membership is incredibly convenient, especially now that we have two young children and going to the store has become increasingly difficult.


But part of my preference for ordering on Amazon was because of my (false) assumption that it was also CHEAPER. This experiment has me re-thinking about where we are going to shop, not only for bird food but many other products.


It could not have been more clear:


Buying bird food from a local store is significantly cheaper than buying online!


Questions for you:


Here is where I need your help.


The results of my experiment were clear. But I live in Akron, Ohio. I’m sure that prices differ all across the United States and the world.


  • Where is the best and least expensive place to buy bird food where you live?
    • Please make sure to share if you live outside the United States!


  • Is there a cheaper website than Amazon to order bird seed online?


Thanks for reading!




Leave a Reply


  1. Ingredients in wild bird seed is not considered. Large cracked corn can’t be metabolized by small birds and have little more nutrition than sand. Some brands leave twigs and rocks in the mix. Manipulating quality and quantity to raise the bottom line is rampant. Your better off giving smaller amounts of quality ingredients. Sunflower seeds, peanuts, safflower, white millet (small amount), fine ground corn (small amount for roughage).

  2. I’ve been doing the same comparisons. Holy moly Amazon is waaaay more expensive and, on more things other than bird food! I still love my Amazon, but these past many years, as their membership goes up and up$$$, I grow more and more cynical about this ‘free two day shipping promise. It’s rarely ever less than a week or more and free? Nah. No way. The cost is in there. Hidden. I’m sure of it. You’d think they’d include free, free EVERYTHING on Amazon Video, free Amazon Music unlimited and family plans for those who are Prime members. Ya know?

  3. Native American Premium Wild Bird Food 50# $16.99 @ Costco (Las Vegas, NV). We feed a lot of birds and easily go through at least 50# a month. Our reward is a euphony of peaceful birdsong in our backyard making it our oasis in the middle of the desert.

  4. Yes; it is cheaper in the local stores than on Amazon on Long Island, NY. Unfortunately I too have opted for Amazon too many times for birdseed because of time restraints and lack of energy. Thank you for posting what I too was noticing. Your insights above, throughout, were informative, and for that, thank you as well.

  5. I’m gonna check out bird seed in my area. Yikes that’s a lot of savings!! Thanks for taking the time to check it all out. 👍😊

  6. Thank you for this article and this thread. I’m also struggling to keep our feeders full without breaking the bank. Would love to see further price comparison of truly locally-owned stores versus other publicly owned conglomerates. For example, Home Depot, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and the like are in a similar category as Amazon in my mind – the money doesn’t fully go back into our towns. Even if it’s comparing different brands of the same product. Is it a better deal to get it at Wild Birds Unlimited or Ace Hardware? Those kind of stores.

  7. Honestly, the prices are getting to be unsustainable. I could easily spend $150/month just feeding birds. Suet, black oil, and Nyjer. I hate the blends. The birds just dig through it. The squirrels are absolute pigs, as are the starlings. Safflower seems to keep most birds happy. Overall, I have found Rural King beats the pants off anyone for price. Often, their price is 25% or more less than anyone for comparable feed. I miss the good old country feed stores 🙁

  8. Yes, I agree that Tractor Supply is the cheapest for Sunflower hearts but the price for 35 pounds is now Aug. 21, $64.99, still cheaper but it has gone up. Our local Agway seems to be cheaper for the Nyger seed as of Aug 1 got 10 pounds for $17.49.

  9. I agree, except here in New England, TSC is is one half of one cent cheaper per pound AFTER considering their rewards program. The extra 10 cents/20 pound bag is a privilege to pay when buying from Walmart because the delivery is free when buying 100 lbs (meaning that I don’t have to haul the bird seed from the shelf to the car to the house). Here’s the link, and the quality is just as good as brand name IMO.

  10. I have found the best price for sunflower hearts is at the Tractor Supply Company. As of April 2022 the price is $54.99 for a 35 LB bag. The best price I have found for whole unsalted peanuts is at my local supermarket. I buy 5 LB bags for $6.49.

  11. Thank you so much for the input! I’m going through this same evaluation here in Florida, also saw this at Tractor Supply, & was wondering about its quality, etc.

  12. Tractor Supply also offers 50lb bags of Royal Wing Classic Mix Bird Seed for $21.99 as of 3/20/22. I’ve been using this with added sunflower chips and peanut chips for the last four years and the local birds, in Fort Worth TX, love it. In my opinion, this mix has much less fillers (that the birds won’t eat) than many of the major brands. I say this because I’ve tried most of the major brands, and most of the time ended up wasting my money because the locals birds rarely will eat them and I end up having to dump my feeders.

  13. Tractor Supply. You can get a 40-50 lb bag of crack corn for like $11. I have a feeder for that only which the sparrows love. Then I put the more expensive blend in another feeder for other bird types. Tractor Supply is good for both.

  14. Mealworms good deals online @ Chubby’s. Become a member and you earn points and save money. Use them for my bluebirds

  15. Jim,
    I apologize in advance. The internet hates me because I hate it. This is my second attempt to reply to your post. I believe that my first reply may be somewhere in the twilight zone.
    First of all, congratulations on your internet research skills. You posted that you have found prices much cheaper than Amazon. I truly do appreciate your hard work in accomplishing this. Would you please specifically share some of the sites which you found? Thank you very much.

  16. Congratulations on your internet research skills. Would you please specifically name some of these places? I truly appreciate the fact that you found them. Now, would you please share the fruits of your labor. Thank you very much.

  17. Probably because a store chain buys significantly more that any one person can/will probably buy. That means they’re paying a much lower price for it than we’re going to find. Also, there are reasons that some vendors only sell to wholesalers. Tax implications, I think.

  18. I purchase from tractor supply, Walmart, occasionally Ollie’s, Big lots, or the Army commissary. The cost of using time and gas doesn’t justify shopping around, if I see a deal I grab it.

  19. no sure if you have any , [[[[ grocery stores called price rite ]]] if so they have only 1 bird seed and it’s a mix of a little bit of everything it sells for 5.50 for 18 pounds. been buying it for 2 years .

  20. Costco used to sell the Wagner’s up until last fall. Then they started selling this North American seed that is nothing but filler seed as you say. They won’t listen to reason either. Apparently, Walmart must be onto it too because they jumped their price by almost $5 bucks for the 40 lb size, probably due to the increased demand from people who used to buy at Costco now getting it at Walmart. Far as I’m concerned, the decision by Costco to sell this North American was very poor. I would gladly have paid more for the Wagner because it’s premium. This North American is garbage.

  21. Just a few months ago the same bag of Pennington was selling for $15.87 at Walmart. Then it went up by almost 20%.

  22. Costco in St. George, Utah, used to sell Wagner’s Premium Bird Seed 40lbs in an orange bag. They pulled it and are now selling this North American. How exactly is it good feed? I see no millet on the ingredients list and it’s got much lower percentage of sunflower seed. What kind of birds are you attracting with it?

  23. I purchase birdseed on, Pennington Classic Wild Bird Feed and Seed, 40 lb. Bag $19.97
    Free shipping when I add it to any order totaling $35 or more.

  24. I bought black oiled sunflower seeds at Ocean State Job Lot for $6.50, the least expensive in NWNJ. Tractor Supply has suet cakes for .99.

  25. I buy mine from my local Grocery store and it is delivered with m groceries at no extra charge from my Intstacart account..

  26. Suet nuggets in bulk are a great price on Chewy as you can get an 8lb box for $16.42.

    Also buying a large bag of mealworms is cheaper on Amazon than in the store. 7 oz above was $9 in store. 5 lb bag is $35. That is 80oz. My local stores don’t even have large bags of mealworms in stock, just the small ones.

    Suet and sunflower seeds are much much cheaper local.

    I love this comparison!! I also noticed seed is way more expensive online.

  27. Those 35 lb bags of sunflower kernels at TSC are a deal. The TSCs near me just started to carry them about a month ago and I bought the two they had in stock. Two bags will last me awhile.

  28. First, Cudo’s for Trump. I have compared Agway to TSC and, at least for sunflower kernels, TSC is the winner. Plus, their 35 lb. bag is about the biggest I can handle. They have a 20 lb bag but per pound, its more expensive so I get a workout with the 35 pounders. Anything is better than Amazon!

  29. I am spending the winter in Yuma, Arizona. Because of the pandemic I was bored with hanging out and decided to get into bird watching. After some fun hikes into bird habitat, I decide to get a few feeders. Yes, I started with bird seed from Amazon. Then 2 weeks later, when putting in my online order for groceries I decided to check the bird food section. Yup, about half price for the same stuff I ordered through Amazon. Then I noticed that 2 five pound bags were cheaper than 1 ten pound bag of the same stuff. So now I check what is available every week at the grocery store when putting in my order. Ive been feeding for 2 months now and I am still buying at the grocery store for much better prices. Thanks for sharing your info.

  30. Specifically for sunflower kernels, Tractor supply is better than Agway. Agway was $55 for 40 lbs vs $40 for 35 pounds at Tractor Supply. TSC is still the winner. Birds love the stuff. That plus some suet cakes is all you need.

  31. I buy sunflower seeds regularly. Tractor Supply is by far the best. 35 pounds for $40. Searched around, even at feed stores and this is the best price going.

  32. Sadly it’s a no-go for 40 b. finch food. DRAT! Great prices! From their website:

    on Vegetable and Flower seed orders over $50 and under 50 pounds

    If the items in your order which qualify for ‘Free Shipping’ total $50 or more and are under 50 pounds, your order ships FREE!

    Potato Seed, Grass Seed and Wildlife Habitat Seed do not qualify

  33. has sunflower hearts – course, medium and fine $14.40 for 10lbs. 10lbs of hulled peanut splits are $13.50 for 10lbs. They have many seeds and if total order is for $50.00 or more and under 50lbs shipping is free.

  34. I am from Toronto, Canada. When I am in the area near Hamilton and go to this farm to buy seed: I love this place and find their seed to be very high quality. I don’t see their prices on their website, but I think a big bag is $25-$30 (Canadian).

  35. The Agway near me has better prices than Tractor Supply and always seems to have stock in everything. My Tractor Supply is constantly out of seed and suet.

  36. I have found that Tractor supply beats all forblack sunflower seed, It is a bit less than 100% (some milo) but still the best price by far. (THis week a 4o pound bag for $13.99) GRand Rapids Mi

  37. Amazon is not representative of online purchasing of bird seed in particular. They are independent sellers so of course they are going to jack up prices (often ridiculous prices). There are still good e-commerce sites that offer good prices and often about the same prices as locally and with great shipping rates, you just have to do a bit of digging.

  38. Thank you for solving the mystery I had, Rick! Years ago, my feeder had ‘standing room only’ for the flock of birds that were clinging to my feeder, waiting for a chance at the bird seed I’d gotten at Costco. Then last year, a couple of times while shopping at Costco, I read the ingredients & saw the seed. It had a fair amt of milo, which I’ve been trying to avoid (crap filler that the birds do NOT like). But I kept recalling how crazy the birds had been when I’d bought it in 2012. So I bought some. In about a week I returned it, along with the seed (I’d say 80%!) that’d gotten tossed out of the feeder. I actually had full dust pans shoveling it up! Disgusting that they’d sell such a terrible product! And what a waste & mess those seeds make on the ground! I’m still getting sprouts everywhere from that junk seed! Ugh!

  39. So happy to see all these people from the akron area on these forums. I have been buying from Menards also, Birds and squirrels seem pretty happy with the bags I get.

  40. I found your study helpful but had a thought. If I could I would deliver. I am retired and looking for a job but now considering buying seed wholesale (do you have wholesaler I should contact?). I would then try to advertise over the internet and take orders. What are your thoughts?

    Springfield, IL

  41. Here’s my question: I got here by beginning this kind of research but what started is that the discarded seed is growing weeds and my husband is not a fan. I know you can buy no mess varieties but they seem so much more expensive. Do they last longer because there’s less waster thus justifying the cost? Or is there any other way I can reduce the weed situation so that I can keep this affordable. My birds will empty the feeders every 2 days.

  42. Tractor Supply Company 35 pound bag $9.99. Ordered online, ready for pickup in 30 minutes. Can’t beat it.

  43. Thanks Scott for peaking my curiosity. Shopping can get crazy with all the choices and you are right when it comes to “which brand” For example, I buy meal worms on-line through Amazon because I can buy a 5 pound bag way cheaper that a bunch of 7 oz bags (* $28.88 for 5 pounds is a pretty good deal and no local store sells this size so the bulk purchase makes it a no brainer. I tried Costco for their mixed blend and while it is cheaper my birds don’t like it so it has no value. Two years ago my local Costco sold Kaytee Blend that was awesome but they no longer carry it so back to shopping around.

  44. Great post & thank you for sharing! I’ve been a shopaholic on Amazon for years & am shock by your research. And I also recently discovered Sam’s 5 pound unsalted peanuts @$5.88 & online it’s free delivery with my membership. And with 4.7 out of 5 star rating, I chose to orderer Sam’s 40 lbs Supreme Blend Wild Bird Food @ $19.98 with my free membership shipping. I hope my bird friends like this mix!

  45. OMG I love you for suggesting this site. Haven’t ordered yet but looks fantastic. I have been buying mixed seed at Costco – cheap and clean, but the wrong type for most of the birds we get so they shovel it out from the feeders and leave it for the squirrels. The local wild bird place is much better seed and choices, but too expensive for me.

  46. I go to my local Tractor Supply here in Vermont. We have extremely high prices here in the Northeast and I live an hour from everywhere, but TS is about 50% less than online, so I just purchase 100# at a time so I only buy once a month.
    We have 4 feeders as well as a raised covered feed area that is 3 feet wide x 10 feet long because we are the only feeders 1 mile radius (because we have no neighbors). I love our blue jay population!! 🙂

  47. Hi Monique. Very good of you to be thinking of the birds in your area! Something I’ve been doing is making my own seed cakes. The birds (& squirrels!) love peanut butter (& coconut oil is fine for them, too) as the base instead of beef suet. To save $ you can buy plain, unadulterated peanuts & grind in a processor (or any device like a high speed blender/ Vitamix), melt that & pour over broken sunflower seeds, millet, etc or general bird seed. (Look online for a variety of ingredients you can use). Then pour in a ‘mold’ you can fix in some kind of ‘cage’. Just don’t use a plastic netting. They’ll get entangled in that. Then, re: hummingbirds, make your own sugar syrup vs buying. It’s MUCH cheaper & leaves out the unnecessary dye. 1:3 cups of sugar:water in colder weather or if they’re migrating, 1:4 concentration otherwise. Dissolve the sugar over the stove until it’s turned syrupy. Refrigerate unused portions until you need it. I’ve discovered they like organic sugar better (I find it cheapest at Costco….and at least here in Oregon it’s now on sale until 3/8/20). Other birds will drink this, too, once they discover it. I place at least 1 hummingbird feeder near a branch or some perch where other birds can easily reach the portals. It’s a real treat for all of them, not just the hummers. Also, try popped popcorn. They went crazy for it for awhile but aren’t as interested as before (don’t ask me why).
    If you look online for all the different foods they’ll eat, maybe you can find a place local to you that’ll let you have discounted/free fruit if you tell them what you’re using it for. I know Costco in some locations donate food towards animal feed. Berries & melons are some fruits they like. I’m always trying to find ways to save $, too, because I seem to be the only one with bird feeders in my neighborhood & they flock here. I’ve even gotten osprey cking things out…but they leave once they see there’s no meat! Good luck!

  48. In the Los Angeles / Ventura area I have found that Costco has by far the least expensive bird seed at $6.59 for 20 lbs. Since my house and most of the surrounding area burned down last year in the Woolsey fire the birds are really in need of food. I have 4 large bird feeders and they are going through them in less then 2 day’s. I wish I could find a less expensive food, I just don’t have the heart to stop feeding. Does anyone know of plants that I can grow to offset the price of the feed? I also have 2 humming bird feeders but that’s not a problem, just a joy to watch them!!

  49. I live in the portage lakes area of Ohio and I get my bird seed mixed seed at Ace,good prices and good sales and I also get cute there,you can catch it on sale for .79 cents. Get nyjer at pet supply plus in bulk.

  50. I have read through the comments and nobody named Rural King
    I can usually get a 40-pound bag of black oil sunflower seeds for $12.99 !!!
    Maybe Rural King stores are only in certain areas of the country. I know they are in Ohio and West Virginia.

  51. Yes, in general I have found Amazon to be substantially higher on some products.
    I Buy and use about 40 lbs a week of black oil sunflower seed, so naturally I shop for the best prices. For me in Mass. (Costco doesn’t carry it) I buy it primarily at Lowes or Walmart. Walmart being the lest expensive at $17.76 for 40 lb bag. While Lowes comes close using my 10% veterans discount. Another one that I use occasionally is Ocean State Job Lot, when they have their 50 lb bags on sale it equates to about the same price per lb.
    Been researching mail order delivery and so far have found Walmart best with free delivery on 50 lb bags only when you spend $29 or more. Price a bit higher at $26, equates to $20.80 for 40 lbs., delivered to your door.

  52. On the west coast there’s a discount grocery store chain called Winco. In pricing around at other local stores (including feed stores) & online, I’ve found that my best bet is to boost a bag of bird food I bought on sale with Winco’s bulk sunflower seeds, shelled p-nuts & thistle and misc like dried fruits. I experiment by also buying bulk wheat berries & corn meal (the larger, coarser) to see if they’ll eat or waste it. I haven’t found a good place for millet yet, tho. And I just wish I could find safflower seed somewhere. I can’t even find it in feed stores. Isn’t this a regular feed for farm animals? Our 1 staple feed store in town is waaaay too overpriced! Maybe the other feed store 15 mi away might have what the local one doesn’t AND hopefully cheaper. I’ll call them before burning up gas to find out. Once I figure out my best sources & options, I’ll blend my own. I hate buying the packaged seed with that red seed (milo?) that most birds turn their beaks up at, tossing it to the ground, making a mess.
    So! my tip is to check at your cheapest bulk section (grocery store or wherever) & buy what you can to boost what you may already have on hand.

  53. thank you Scott for such a comprehensive investigation and I just threw up on my Amazon gift card !!!

    WOW!!!! I am a total Amazon freak, but you change my mind dramatically!!

    also, I left out loud to hear your comment about the bourbon !!!

    Great job – thanks for all the input

    do you have other similar postings?

    Jerry Lukas

  54. Hi, I’m in the akron-canton, area,work in Akron and live in Jackson township

    If I was to want the most feed for the best price, where would you recommend me start and which feed. I just getting back into using a feeder. But , don’t want to spend a lot, I’m willing to buy bulk of need be. I do have a Sam’s club membership. If that helps. I don’t think full peanut would fit it. But I haven’t gotten the bird feeder yet.

    Thanks a lot,


  55. It sounds like you buy many of the same things as me. I load up on the Pennington sunflower chips when they are in stock at Walmart. I always get my mealworms from Amazon and have bought the Hatortemp and several others numerous times. I used to get Pennington black oil sunflower seeds from Walmart but the last couple of bags were LOADED with sticks and other debris so I bought a few bags from Tractor Supply and they were also dirty. Both ended up clogging up my squirrel buster feeders. Maybe I will order from Lowe’s next. I also get the C&S Suet nuggets from Home Depot or Walmart and I get the suet blocks from Tractor Supply. If there are any Southern States near you their millet is way cheaper there than anywhere else. The last time I bought safflower seeds was from Home Depot but Tractor Supply is where I usually get them. I buy my peanuts from Amazon and get the Lyric 5 lb bags utilizing subscribe & save. For some reason getting three 5 lb bags is cheaper than one 15 lb bag (although this does change). Another item I frequently get is the Lyric Fruit and Nut 20 lb bags from Amazon which is also eligible for subscribe & save. Nyjer I I usually get from Tractor Supply but I think I bought my last bag at Walmart. I spend way too much money on this stuff.

  56. Can’t believe some of the prices people are paying! Forty-five dollars for 20 lbs. are you serious. Costco in New Mexico, Native American Premium Wild Bird Food, 50 lbs. for $10.99! Tractor Supply also has a 50 lb but it’s $20 and very dusty.

  57. You are right! Thank you!! Even with shipping (got my total 70lb order of seeds for $5 UPS shipping), I am getting a better deal than either Amazon or buying local fr many seeds. Safflower is currently on sale at $9.99 for a 10lb bag if you go to their current ad. I have been paying $1.60 a pound for a 5lb bag via Prime. Whole corn is pretty cheap, too, at $0.65lb.

  58. We get 40# bags of black oil sunflower from Lowe’s, runs around 20 bucks. Sunflower chips from Walmart, 5.5 lbs for 6.50. Suet from Walmart runs around a dollar apiece. Now, the mealworms I do buy online from Amazon as it’s the cheapest I’ve found, Hatortemp 5 lbs for $24.

  59. i buy a lot from Amazon via links on your site. But, I do buy a 40lb bag of Wagner’s Black Oil Sunflower seeds at Home Depot for $20.48.I store it in my garage in a garbage can, lol. Also, I buy mealworms in bulk… a 5lb bag for $24.99.

    I also buy 5lb bag of Wagners Safflower seeds for around $6 on Amazon ( I usually get 2 at a time)……..

    I always look for better deals. I guess it’s the convenience of free shipping from Amazon Prime that lures me in. Sometimes, I just don’t have the time to drive to 6 different places to get what I want.

    Walmart or the local co-op run good deals on cracked corn in bulk but I have found that many times, you have to wait at least a month for the order. However, the cracked corn link you have is the better price.

    I live in Knoxville, TN.

  60. I live in Perry Ohio and the Tractor Supply is by far the cheapest for good quality bird seed!

  61. I am in western Oregon and new to feeding wild birds on my small farm (and still seeking the most affordable binocs that are usable for people with shaky hands!). We have a chain store in the Pacific NW called Bi-Mart which has a $5 lifetime membership and THE most amazing discounts on everything from farm supplies (including all types of wild and domestic bird food) to cookware and all types of household supplies and electronics and canned/packaged human foods. Bi-Mart is the only store locally where I’ve found the Audubon “Trail Mix” which seems to attract the most varieties of birds. I formerly fed a locally packaged and very affordable “critter crunch” which kept both the birds and the squirrels very happy but unfortunately tended to attract possum which I really, really do not want in my yard – they can stay in the old barn at the far end of the property, thank you very much. If you are in the Pacific NW I highly recommend Bi-Mart for their reasonable everyday pricing on a good variety of bird food as well as really good and very frequent sales.

  62. I’m in Ohio & I’ve found the local grain elevator or co-op, if they sell it, have the best prices. I order online for free pick-up & they load it into the car. The variety of brands may be limited but the quality is good. Previously, Menards was my choice for variety & price and is still the best price on suet cakes. The Wildlife Sciences case of 10 is $6.90 & I’ve bought them for $3.90 on sale.
    The birds like them & I go thru quite a few cases with only 2 of those simple green suet feeders.
    Just started feeding & watching last year.

    1. They built a Menards in Cuyahoga Falls over the past year and I get a lot of food there now because it’s so close to the house. Thanks for sharing!

  63. thank you for doing all this research….I’m in Maine but I’m betting it’s no different here!

    1. You’re welcome! I find this is still very true today, much cheaper to buy at local stores, more convenient to buy and shipped to my house.

  64. Love this page! Thanks so much for sharing your research. I haven’t fed the wild birds in quite some time but really do like seeing them in the backyard so I’m trying to get back into it. Literally decades ago I had a place nearby in an industrial park that was reasonably priced but I haven’t surfaced them in any searches yet. I order petfood from so I’ll compare their wild birdseed with Walmart. Sam’s sells the unshelled peanuts for $5 or $6 so it’s nice to know that I’m getting a great price buying from them.

    1. Hey Gary. Thanks for sharing. I had heard of but never ordered anything. I just tried them out thanks to your advice. Prices seem very reasonable!

  65. Walmart is a good place for birdseed at decent prices. Here in northern Virginia there’s a good selection and you can order online for free pickup if it’s not stocked. Pennington 7lb safflower seed is $9.99. Think there’s a 5lb for $7.99 also. Starlings have been mobbing my feeder so happy to find this info. Hope it deters them!

    1. Did you have any luck with the safflower seed? I have never tried Wal-Mart for seed, but a Menards recently opened near us and I have been finding competitive prices there.

  66. this is fascinating. I recently got a bird feeder. Since their aren’t any bird shops really local (brooklyn, NY) I was relying on Amazon, but now that I’m seeing this I’m thinking it may be worth a trip to get seed if it’s so much cheaper.

  67. Hi Scott,

    I appreciate the info! I’m in Dayton and shop at Kroger but I am going to compare what you have and see how similar prices are. I’ve been looking for bulk peanuts so I’ll have to give Sam’s/ Costco a try. Will post any interesting findings! Thanks again!

  68. Is this a slam Amazon blog? You did not state the local bird food store you visited and my own search could not find local prices even close to your quotes. Doesn’t seem very accurate.

    1. Actually, I love Amazon! But in my limited test, it was not the cheapest place to buy bird food (but is most convenient). Just curious, which specific product did I mention that you found cheaper on Amazon vs. in the store? Which store? Also, the grocery store that I visited was Giant Eagle. This is a regional grocery chain in the midwest so I didn’t think it was relevant to include the name since it does not apply to most of the country or international visitors. Thanks for reading!